Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Woodmans: Take Two

I. In The Woodmans, we see a family system, partly through artifacts and partly through remembrances of things past. Francesca Woodman jumped to her death in New York City in 1981, just as Diary of a Mad Housewife and Falling Bodies author Sue Kaufman had done in 1977. In The Woodmans, George, Betty and Charlie are interviewed decades later, while Francesca remains a ghostly figure throughout.

The Woodman family story reminds me a little of Franz Kafka's Die Verwandlung / The Metamorphosis (1915), which also revolves around a nuclear family composed of two parents and two siblings. In the Kafka tale, once Gregor Samsa is out of circulation, the rest of the Samsa family kicks into high gear. They live on without him. Likewise, once Francesca is gone, the other three Woodmans continue to lurch forward. Charlie continues with his electronic art projects, but the parents actually change up their approaches to art. Betty switches from functional ceramics into decorative mode. Even more strikingly, George, after reading all of Emily Dickinson's poetry, changes from abstract painting to form photography, often in a way strongly reminiscent of Francesca's work.   

II. The David Lang soundtrack, performed by Sō Percussion, is strange, cool and memorable. At first, it instantly reminded me of the soundtrack that accompanies Allan Mindel's film Milwaukee Minnesota (2003), which will make for another post on another day. 

Today's Rune: Wholeness.      

1 comment:

Luma Rosa said...

Haven't watched the documentary about Francesca Woodman, but know your photographic work. With elements of symbolism, Baroque, surrealism and Futurism. Your photos bring us to a ghostly emotional environment, deep and sexy and even, occasionally, disturbed and violent. But his work was brilliant in the sense of being unusual. It is not possible to stay you indifferent by the beauty, by the strangeness and audacity. Also fascinating is that Francesca does not attempt to capture the moment suspended in time but rather preferred to show the flow of drag time.
The art not killed Francesca but gave him life, however was when a creative crisis has affected their ability to work the artist entered the deep imbalance that ended his life.
Good dregs of the week!